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Rally for Healthcare Independence takes on religious overtones

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
This sign was criticizing Gov. Mary Fallin's ardent support of drone technology and testing in Oklahoma.
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By Andrew W. Griffin

Red Dirt Report, editor

Posted: July 7, 2012

OKLAHOMA CITY – At times, taking on the tone of a religious revival rather than a rally opposing the Affordable Care Act, colloquially referred to as Obamacare, several hundred conservative and Tea Party-oriented folks gathered on the south steps of the State Capitol on an overcast Saturday morning to voice their opposition to unconstitutional overreach by government.

And while there were plenty of references to the tyrannical nature of the government pushing an individual health insurance mandate, there was also readings from the Declaration of Independence by mild-mannered talk jockey Reid Mullins of KTOK’s “Mullins in the Morning” radio program.

In his opening prayer, Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee’s Charlie Meadows noted how many in America had turned their backs on God and are “no longer covenant keepers but covenant breakers.” It was clear that this event would fall back on a lot of Christianized patriotism and an earnest desire to turn back the clock.

The gathering certainly had the feeling of a typical Tea Party rally at the State Capitol, as we’ve seen over the past three years. But there was a notable weariness in the crowd. A lot of familiar faces seen at prior Tea Party events were not evident and the weather actually cooperated – meaning it wasn’t blazing hot. What has changed? One man told Red Dirt Report that he was disappointed with the turnout. More people, he said, should be concerned about the Supreme Court ruling which upheld much of Obamacare.

What did seem different at this particular rally was the more overt religious influence in the movement. Past events focused primarily on politics and government overreach. But with the rise of Glenn Beck-ian theology + rants, the tricorns and tea bags have given way to a dash of fire and brimstone. Granted, people are concerned about the nation’s demise and are unsure what to do about it. It seems overwhelming and all-consuming for many.

Perhaps it should not be surprising that there was a strong streak of evangelical zealotry throughout the approximately two-hour rally, but there were also the irritated libertarian types in Ayn Rand T-shirts who strictly want the government out of their lives. One woman and her grandson were upset about the government’s growing use of drones and Gov. Mary Fallin’s ardent support of this menacing technology. Their sign, topped by a model “drone” read: “Mary we’re watching You.”

Local pastors Dan Fisher and Paul Blair were among those who took to the lectern and mixed early American history and Christian Dominionism in a thunderous and convincing manner that had many in the audience loudly applauding.

Focusing on evangelicals, Fisher, a politically-active minister who leads Trinity Baptist Church in Yukon, he said that with 60 million fellow evangelicals in America, only half of them vote. He said that the real problem in this country is “with the electorate.”

Quoting the Founding Fathers, like “the great ’deist’ Benjamin Franklin,” Fisher reminded the rally attendees that in times of great peril, great sacrifice is necessary. “We must hang together, or most assuredly we will hang separately.” Fisher added that while the Founders were willing to sacrifice their prosperity for their posterity, present-day Americans are achieving the opposite, and the results are becoming terribly clear.

Fairview Baptist Church's Blair, who just emerged from a bloody State Senate race, one in which he lost, stood at the lectern in his Hawaiian shirt and said that because our rights come from God, “they can’t be taken away.” And while God supports “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” that happiness must be in line with “natural law” where a “monogamous family unit” is key and the sanctity of marriage must not be undermined.

Next, libertarian speaker Toby Pedford tried to lighten the mood by referring to himself as a “pagan” in contrast to the hardline Christians before him. Pedford’s message highlighted the promotion of free-market principles.

“The role of government is to protect life, liberty and property because anything else is tyranny,” Pedford said, quoting another. He went on noting how the implementation of Obamacare will affect all manner of health-related decisions. Insurance will be adversely affected, physicians’ jobs will be all that much harder and more onerous – and don’t get started on the “death panels.”

Pedford got the crowd worked up over approximately five minutes. With government broke, he said, how can we take on Obamacare? People have become far too dependent on government and have forgotten how to take responsibility for their own actions.

“Do you want Oklahoma to be the freest state in the nation?” Pedford asked, to wild applause. “Then let’s stop Obamacare.”

Amanda Teegarden, an expert in the expansion of the “Big Brother” police state and the growing influence of technocracy in society was also a speaker. Her work with Oklahomans for Sovereignty and Free Enterprise (OK-SAFE) has opened up a lot of eyes to what the technocrats in Washington and elsewhere have in mind for the populace.

Teegarden noted the influence of OHIET (Oklahoma Health Information Exchange Trust), the expansion of public-private partnerships, which mixes government, industry and academia. She noted the rising use of “smart meters” to control the amount of energy we use. She noted that with Obamacare there will be “human subject research,” which certainly had Nazi-ish overtones. Again, the death panels were on the minds of many.

While Teegarden kept things pretty secular, Dale Phillips, a founder of the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, who makes an appearance in the documentary A Noble Lie, bellowed that America is totally lost if we don’t turn back to God. And while we must pray for “evildoers” and “deceivers,” it was his prayer that one day those power-hungry demons seeking to enslave free men and women “will be held in the cells they built for us in the present, and be hung on the gallows they built for us in the past.”

Phillips, sporting a “Ron Paul for President” T-shirt, decried the fascist direction America has been taking over the past decade. Phillips, sounding particularly pessimistic, minced no words in saying how “criminals” have taken over government over the past 50 years “and the order of the day is to lie to you during the campaign and do the opposite once they get in.”

At this point, someone yelled “Let’s chemtrail ‘em!”, a reference to the poison contrails laid in grid patterns in the sky by the “secret government.”

“You need to be praying,” Phillips said, his voice shaking ever-so-slightly. “You need to be praying hard from the floor.”

Copyright 2012 Red Dirt Report

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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